Volume 12 Week 5

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(Posted 10 a.m., June 13)
OOPS offers unique take on the ageless tale of Robin Hood

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Orleans Older Players production of 'Robin...OOPS' stars Susan Ashton as Robin Hood, and Sebastien Melbourne as Maid Marion. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The story of Robin Hood and his merry men is one of those ageless classics that has been told so many times, you think you have heard and seen them all, and then along comes the Orleans Old Players.

"Robin... OOPS (A half-baked panto)" is a fresh and entirely silly take on the classic tale.

In the Orleans Old Players story, Robin Hood is getting a little long in the tooth. He still robs from the rich and gives to the poor, but he's getting bored and contemplating retirement in either Bora Bora, or Rockland.

His lady love, Maid Marion, is not only bored, she's also fed up waiting for Robin Hood to pop the question and marry her. Apparently, he keeps giving all the money he takes from the rich to the poor and never has enough left over to pay for a wedding. But after waiting 27 years, Marion has had enough and gives Robin an ultimatum. Either marry her now or she'll marry the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Unbeknownst to both Marion and Robin, the Sheriff, who is also contemplating retirement, has hatched a plan to trick Marion into marrying him with the help of his henchman Gloom and a witch's magic potion hidden in a cake.

The plan works until Robin appears at the last minute, rescues Marion, and leaves the Sheriff and Gloom to the witch who wants revenge for getting stiffed on the portion.

There's a few other bits in between, including three rapping nuns who advance the plot with their minstrel accompanist Marc Leguerrrier, and a half dozen satirical numbers, but you get the general picture.

The cast is mix of OOPS veterans like Sue Ashton, who plays Robin Hood, and Randy Bellini, who plays the Sheriff of Nottingham, and a couple of newcomers including Sophia Sudnikowicz, who plays Little John, and Lydia Chala, who plays one of the rapping nuns.

The other two nuns are played by Céline Nadeau and Sarah Benfield, who I've dubbed the busiest actor in Orléans because she's been in every play I've seen this year.

Another OOPS veteran, Biz MacDonald, is hilarious as the overly inebriated Friar Tuck, and Tina Chan plays the perfect sidekick/henchman as Gloom.

The rest of the merry men are played by André Lacasse (Alan A-Dale) and Karen Bolt who does double duty as Will Scarlett and the witch.

I saved the best for last. In the panto tradition of men playing the role of the heroine, Sebastien Melbourne plays a rather tall Maid Marion.

Melbourne is brilliant and fits the role beautifully. He's a real natural, if not a natural blond, and he seems as comfortable on the stage as his more veteran castmates.

You can catch "Robin... OOPS (A half-baked panto)" in the Richcraft Theatre at the Shenkman Arts Centre on Saturday, June 13 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and cost $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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